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  1. #1
    having a nice day
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    Question has anyone gone around the usa on amtrak?

    It's an option since I can't find a place to live lol. But I've onky been on a train once for Helsinki worlds and I always got off at pasilla...once I figured out where it was! So I know zero about long distance train travel and what all it entails. Got any tips for me? :-)
    Have a nice day!

  2. #2

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    Sounds like a great deal of fun to me, especially if there is a bar car.

    One of my fantasies is taking the train from Seattle to Chicago, then visiting a friend in Iowa City, then getting back on it and taking the train to Washington DC to visit my niece and her family.

  3. #3

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    My tip would be to save your money and take the bus, or drive. Buses are SO much cheaper than trains, are more frequent, and go more places. Driving gives you so much more freedom and flexibility. America is too huge for trains. They work much better in the short distances of Europe. In the US they are best for commuter travel, ie people traveling short distances to big-city jobs from their homes in the suburbs.

    The only thing I like about train travel is train stations, which can be thrilling. Otherwise all I think of is the high prices, the smell of french fries, children crying, and people crowding the aisles going back and forth to the food car and bathroom. No food cars on buses, and french fry smells are limited to half an hour after a rest stop! and everyone is quiet!

    The train grinch hath spoken.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    The train grinch hath spoken.
    There are two such grinches. I have always found Amtrak somewhat uncomfortable.....but an adventure is an adventure, have fun!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Otherwise all I think of is the high prices, the smell of french fries, children crying, and people crowding the aisles going back and forth to the food car and bathroom. No food cars on buses, and french fry smells are limited to half an hour after a rest stop! and everyone is quiet!

    The train grinch hath spoken.
    Fantasy reconsidered.

  6. #6
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    We took it overnight from Philly to Chicago when my brother in law lived & worked in the Chicago suburbs. This was during a winter break period, so there was no way we were going to take a chance & drive through winter weather. Coming home, part of the train ride was in the daytime, so it was a pretty sight to see Horseshoe Curve in central (?) PA. For US Nationals, we will take the train from Philly to Boston, since we don't want to bother with the car (high parking rates & Boston), & driving through wintry weather conditions.

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    I'd like to do that myself someday (when I'm retired and have the time). I like Amtrak and I'd like to try the long-haul runs at least once before I die.

    I think I'd spring for the quiet car option, though, if I was going to be travelling on a commuter route or at a time when families with kids were likely to be on board.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  8. #8

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    Anti grinch, here. Amtrak has improved somewhat in the last few years. Their eastern lines are profitable, so they're spending a bit more money on upkeep. If you have a flexible schedule, you can use their special Rail Passes.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  9. #9
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    I took Amtrack from San Francisco to LA a few summers ago. I loved it - sitting in the glass lounge car with a glass of wine watching the Pacific Ocean go by ... a great way to spend an afternoon!

    It was a slow way to get there, but the scenery made it totally worthwhile.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by paskatefan View Post
    We took it overnight from Philly to Chicago when my brother in law lived & worked in the Chicago suburbs. This was during a winter break period, so there was no way we were going to take a chance & drive through winter weather. Coming home, part of the train ride was in the daytime, so it was a pretty sight to see Horseshoe Curve in central (?) PA. For US Nationals, we will take the train from Philly to Boston, since we don't want to bother with the car (high parking rates & Boston), & driving through wintry weather conditions.
    I've done the Philly to Boston train. I had no problem with it. It was during a major ice storm and snow storm, and that train went anyway, when all flights were cancelled and the roads were insane.

    I don't mind the train on the east coast routes. I think taking the train all over the US would be pure torture, though.

    I've heard of an amazing train trip that goes across Canada, though. My uncle and aunt are considering that one.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  11. #11
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    I took Amtrak from Ann Arbor MI to Chicago - booked business class, which was nice and roomy with seats that reclined and a food car right next to it that was largely empty. Worth the $$ to upgrade from coach. Booked far enough in advance that it was affordable. Food car had White Castles, which cracked me up. Had to get one of those!

    That said, based on the good experience, I looked into Amtrak to go to Minneapolis for a skating event. No way. Would have taken twice as long to get there as it would for me to drive, and the train would have dumped me out in downtown Minneapolis at something like midnight. Um, no.

  12. #12
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    About 20+ years ago I took the train from Newark to Chicago and back again. That cured me of the harebrained idea that train travel is some romantic adventure. By the time I got to Chicago I was so exhausted that I took a nap on a dark bench in the Field Museum.
    The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket

  13. #13

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    I don't have long distance travel experience on Amtrak. I took a train from Boston to New York once, and from NJ to Delaware at one time (over 20 years ago). I enjoyed the short rides because here in the west trains are not that common (at least from wherever I have lived). Train travel in the eastern states was a novelty for me. I have no idea what the trains are like for long trips and in recent years.

  14. #14
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    My aunt has years of experience traveling on trains across the US. She lives in Ithaca, NY and has two sons who live out in Portland, OR, a daughter in Sumpter, SC and a third son who just relocated from Portland to Georgia (she just went down to see them and she will be spending at least the next 4-6 months down there). She spends more time with her kids and grandkids, I think, than she does at home in NY.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by paskatefan View Post
    We took it overnight from Philly to Chicago when my brother in law lived & worked in the Chicago suburbs. This was during a winter break period, so there was no way we were going to take a chance & drive through winter weather. Coming home, part of the train ride was in the daytime, so it was a pretty sight to see Horseshoe Curve in central (?) PA. For US Nationals, we will take the train from Philly to Boston, since we don't want to bother with the car (high parking rates & Boston), & driving through wintry weather conditions.
    I love the Amtrak up the Eastern Corridor. It's so pretty, especially in the fall with the foliage. I just went up to Providence over Thanksgiving, and the train was so comfortable. I felt like I was traveling through a postcard. I had my book, coffee, and iPhone, and the time flew by.

  16. #16
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    I love train travel. Out in the western U.S. there are some beautiful routes, the Pacific Starlight being one of them, and the Zephyr when it crosses Colorado, just as two examples. Most trains have an A/C outlet, so you can plug in your laptop, and a few trains now have free Wi-Fi. And if you have to overnight on one, you at least have some room--unlike a bus.

  17. #17
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    If you are spending $$$ its better than a bus for overnight, you can have your own bedroom. But if you go coach, its just more expensive than the bus, not better. I've done overnight coach many times. Not fun.

    Whether train travel is fun depends on a couple things, 1. If you get travel sick on trains (I do), 2. if you like people, because they are all around you on U.S. trains which don't have separate compartments as they do in Europe.
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  18. #18
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    I would walk before I'd take a bus, but have done several long distance train trips and generally enjoyed them.

    Several key differences between a bus and trains:

    The bar car
    On a train you can get up and walk around
    The bar car
    On a train you can usually change cars / seats if you're stuck next to someone who's loud, smells, etc.
    The bar car
    Trains don't get stuck in traffic
    The bar car

    'Nuff said.
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  19. #19
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    So if you don't drink...

    Probably do want to take a train if you're doing overnight rather than a bus, I'll grant that, even coach. But I'd prefer not to do either. Overnight coach is not romantic train travel.

    I don't have any experience with train travel for the fun of it, only as a form of transportation. It gets you there.

    I don't know about other routes but NE corridor can be very crowded so changing seats isn't necessarily something you can count on.
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    So if you don't drink...
    The bar car is not really a bar, it's a cafe, so they serve all kinds of food and snacks and drinks (including non-alcoholic drinks). Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever had an alcoholic beverage on a train, but I've made a lot of trips to the bar car.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

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